Records on the road with No. 19 on the line – Watford vs. Liverpool Preview

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Liverpool head to Watford on Saturday with a chance to break the Premier League’s record for the most consecutive wins in a season, with victory taking their tally to 19.

Watford vs. Liverpool

Saturday, February 29, 2020 – 5.30pm (GMT)
Vicarage Road
Premier League (28)
Referee: Michael Oliver


After a dramatic clash last time out, Jurgen Klopp will be no doubt be eager for a smoother encounter at Vicarage Road.

The Reds were behind on the scoreboard in the Premier League for the first time since November after Issa Diop and Pablo Fornals both struck for West Ham—leaving it all to do with just over half an hour on the clock.

But as ever, Liverpool found a way to secure all three points to move within 12 of officially clinching the Premier League title.

And while another victory on the weekend would see the target drop to single digits, the outing is also one which could see Klopp’s side rewrite the record books once more.

Three points would see Liverpool record their 19th consecutive Premier League victory, the longest streak in the competition’s history—overtaking the record Man City first set in 2017/18, with 18.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, February 24, 2020: Liverpool's Sadio Mané celebrates scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Nigel Pearson oversaw his first game as the Hornets’ manager in the 2-0 loss at Anfield in December, and his side went on to win four of their next five league games—but the bounce following his arrival has quickly dissipated.

While the Reds are flying high, Watford have dropped deeper into the relegation zone having picked up just two points from their last five games.

They currently sit in 19th, one point adrift of safety with 11 games remaining.

Liverpool, meanwhile, have taken 110 points from the last 114 available and anything but three more for Klopp’s Reds would be a surprise.

 

Team News

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 4, 2019: Liverpool's James Milner, wearing a rainbow coloured captain's armband, during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC, the 234th Merseyside Derby, at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

After a number of weeks with few injuries to consider, Klopp has two in his midfield ranks in addition to Xherdan Shaqiri‘s continued absence.

Jordan Henderson remains sidelined after sustaining a hamstring injury in the defeat at Atletico Madrid, one which is only set to see his return to action after a minimum of two weeks.

Meanwhile, James Milner was withdrawn from the matchday squad against West Ham as a precaution due to a slight muscle strain.

Ahead of the game Klopp provided an update on the vice-captain, who is the closest of his injured trio to returning, with a comeback likely in the FA Cup fifth-round trip to Chelsea.

With this game coming five days after the win over West Ham and three before the clash at Stamford Bridge, the manager has a number of options at his disposal.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could return to the XI after Naby Keita struggled to impress on Monday, while Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren could be turned to with the cup game in mind.

Otherwise, it is expected that the team will largely remain settled with Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino continuing to act as options from the bench.

The hosts, on the other hand, are likely to remain without Daryl Janmaat as he has only just returned to training following a knee injury.

Possible Watford XI: Foster; Mariappa, Kabasele, Cathcart, Masina; Hughes, Capoue; Sarr, Doucoure, Deulofeu; Deeney

 

Last 5 Away to Watford (All Competitions)

WATFORD, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 24, 2018: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Watford FC and Liverpool FC at Vicarage Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Won 3-0 – November 2018 (Salah, Alexander-Arnold, Firmino)
Drew 3-3 – August 2017 (Okaka, Doucoure, Britos; Mane, Firmino pen, Salah)
Won 1-0 – May 2017 (Can)
Lost 3-0 – December 2015 (Ake, Ighalo x2)
Won 3-0 – January 2007 (Bellamy, Crouch x2)

 

Vicarage Road

A general view of Vicarage Road during the Barclays Premier League match at Vicarage Road, Watford. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday November 21, 2015. See PA story SOCCER Watford. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

Capacity: 21,577

Away fans’ pubs: The Oddfellows is the officially designated pub for away fans and is less than a five-minute walk away from the stadium.

 

Did You Know?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 17, 2018: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring the fourth goal, his hat-trick, during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Watford FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Watford make for kind opposition for Klopp, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.

The boss has faced off against the Hornets nine times since taking over at the club, and has won on seven occasions—the joint-most against any side he has faced in the Premier League, level with Crystal Palace.

The aggregate score sits at 27-7, with the last four meetings all seeing Liverpool walk away with a clean sheet.

And both Mane and Salah have been integral to the Reds’ recent record against Watford, with the former scoring five and assisting four in his last six league meetings.

Salah has eight goals to his name in five appearances, the most he has scored against any side in his Liverpool career to date.

Can they all add to their tally and pile further misery on the hosts on Saturday?

 

Form

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, February 24, 2020: Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum (R) celebrates with team-mates after scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-2. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)

Won 3-2 vs. West Ham
Lost 1-0 vs. Atletico Madrid
Won 1-0 vs. Norwich
Won 1-0 vs. Shrewsbury
Won 4-0 vs. Southampton

Watford – Last five results (all competitions)

Lost 3-0 vs. Man United
Drew 1-1 vs. Brighton
Lost 3-2 vs. Everton
Lost 2-1 vs. Tranmere
Lost 2-1 vs. Aston Villa

 

Klopp’s View

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Klopp said he expects Watford to “strike back, 100 percent” after a difficult run of results:

“It’s tough, it’s really tough, because you need each point you can get and that’s what they didn’t have in the last five games I think.

“But they will strike back, 100 percent. Home game, everybody expects Liverpool to come there and we are only asked about game No. 19 [to win in a row].

“That’s a wonderful situation for them to try to give us a proper struggle. We know that, that’s not the first time it happened.”

 

TV & Liveblog Info

Liverpool’s trip to Watford will be shown live in the UK on Sky Sports Main Events and Sky Sports Premier League, with coverage starting at 5pm ahead of the 5.30pm kickoff.

Chris Williams will be keeping you up to date with all the action and providing his usual biased take on This Is Anfield’s matchday liveblog, starting from 4.45pm.

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